Director of Information Technology
Derek Coons serves as director of information technology for Mercy For Animals and is a longtime board member, overseeing the direction, focus, effectiveness, and efficiency of the organization. A graduate of Miami University with a degree in computer science and systems analysis, Derek actively combines his passions for animals and technology, developing and implementing all of MFA’s websites, database systems, web advertising programs, and e-mail communications.
Under his direction, MFA’s ChooseVeg.com website has become widely recognized as one of the web’s most helpful and compelling pro-vegetarian websites, attracting over two million visitors annually.
Derek’s journey into animal activism began as a teenager while working in the kitchen of a local Red Lobster restaurant. After witnessing lobsters steamed alive and stabbed with knives, Derek pledged never to eat lobster again. Derek quickly began to question the manner in which pigs, chickens, and cows were treated during meat production. Such reflection soon led Derek toward vegetarianism, having acknowledged that he could not ethically justify causing animals to suffer and die simply for a palate preference. An animal advocate for over a decade, Derek first became active in promoting veganism during college. While serving as the president of Oxford’s student animal rights organization, Derek organized various outreach events ranging from literature distribution and educational displays to video screenings and dinners. Through his grassroots outreach efforts, Derek has distributed tens of thousands of brochures detailing the health and ethical benefits of a plant-based diet to consumers.
Soon after college, Derek began using visual media to raise awareness of factory farm issues by producing an eye-opening public access television program in Columbus, Ohio. Derek has also played a key role in the production of numerous MFA television advertisements and documentaries, including MFA's award-winning film, Fowl Play. In 2007, Derek became the first individual honored by MFA with the Hope Award for his passionate dedication to defending farmed animals and promoting cruelty-free food choices.